Reliant Robin attack blamed on 'Top Gear copy cats'

Image caption, Barry Cloughton said the attack was a copy-cat of Jeremy Clarkson's stunt

A Cornish motorist claims vandals who turned over his Reliant Robin car were copying a stunt on the BBC television show Top Gear.

Barry Cloughton's car was left on its side twice in 48 hours outside his home in St Austell.

Mr Cloughton, 78, said he did not blame the show but called it a "copy-cat attack".

The first incident is thought to have happened late on Friday night and the second on Saturday night.

After the second incident, petrol was found pouring from the car and a door and wing mirror had been damaged. Firefighters dealt with the spilled petrol.

Former plumber Mr Cloughton told BBC News: "I don't blame Jeremy Clarkson, I blame the kids who did it.

"But I think it was a copy-cat attack.

"The petrol was running into the garden. My wife's nervous about leaving the car outside the house now."

The Top Gear episode featuring presenter Jeremy Clarkson tipping over a Reliant Robin every time he went round a corner was shown in June and repeated on Sunday.

Sgt Steve Reid of St Austell Police said: "This kind of thing happened before Top Gear. It's not a new phenomenon.

"But the culprits do not realise the potential injury.

"It could be have been a lot worse if the petrol had ignited."

A Top Gear spokesperson said: "We do not condone these actions."

Mr Cloughton said: "The only other time a Reliant Robin of mine has tipped over was 20 years ago, when I was driving it in Birmingham.

"I hit a slippery patch and was upside down.

"But they are good cars.

"It's only £60 to tax and petrol consumption is great."

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